On the Move: making sense of car and train travel trends in Britain

In early 2012, the Office of Rail Regulation, in conjunction with the Independent Transport Commission, the RAC Foundation and Transport Scotland, co-sponsored a study on car and rail traffic trends in Great Britain. The study, based on National Travel Survey data from 1995 – 2007, investigated behaviour changes and other factors which may be causing a leveling off in car traffic and sustained growth in rail demand since the mid 1990s.

The study has uncovered some interesting trends in travel patterns. For example the recent growth in rail demand is due to more trips, not longer trips and new passengers using rail rather than an increase in use by existing passengers. And figures show that the fastest growth in rail travel is for non-commuting business purposes. The study also finds that rail demand and its growth differ by factors such as gender and age as well as region, although in general there have been strong increases in rail travel for men and women across most age groups.

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